Amnesty Club

As a girls school, we have naturally always had a passion for women’s rights. In Western society, rights are often thought of as social issues, such as the right to vote. However the rights we often take for granted are to do with rights that are necessary to have a basic standard of health. A key part of this is the right to hygiene products. 


Hygiene poverty excludes and isolates those who cannot afford to meet their basic hygienic needs. Not only is this detrimental to people’s physical health, but it knocks people’s self-confidence, potentially worsening mental health. Moreover, it can become a long-term problem because these effects make it harder for people to access education or a job. 


For women, ‘period poverty’ can make these barriers even greater. In the UK, 1 in 10 girls can’t afford to buy menstrual products. According to a 2017 survey by Bodyform, a sanitary product company, almost 50% of girls reported that they have felt embarrassed by their period, and are reluctant to ask for help with it, due to social stigma. Consequently, girls’ education has been disrupted by not having a safe way to deal with periods, as girls miss days of school because of their periods. This can quickly become a long-run problem, where girls are unable to reach opportunities because they are held back by their period. 


To address this issue, we decided to fundraise for a local charity called The Hygiene Bank, which distributes hygiene products to those facing hygiene poverty. We asked students to bring in new hygiene products, focusing on women’s products in particular, and made a (pretty large) donation to our local Hygiene Bank, in Reading. 


As young women, we are determined to break the stigma around periods and women’s health. We cannot find solutions to problems that we are afraid to talk about. Therefore, we must use our voices to create room for those who are not yet heard. 


To find out more about how you can get involved with The Hygiene Bank, visit their website 

Amnesty Club Members